Siquijor Sightseeing: Mt. Bandilaan
Towering above the plains of Siquijor is the majestic Mount Bandilaan, the highest peak in the province which can be found in its midst. Rising up to 557 feet above sea level totaling 1394 feet high, Mount Bandilaan provides many opportunities of exploration such as cave spelunking, nature trekking and mountain climbing. The mountain springs and rivers found in the base and nearby terrain of Mount Bandilaan are also among its main attractions. Though definitely smaller in size, Mount Bandilaan’s cone has been likened to that of Luzon’s Mount Mayon because of its almost perfect shape.
Mount Bandilaan Nature Park
Aside from the high mountain, Mount Bandilaan also has a Nature Park developed at its very foot. This park encompasses the once had been Siquijor Reforestation Project and is now home to a great number of flora and fauna species. You can also find in the area a shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Stations of the Cross which are both popular sites for religious pilgrims, five natural freshwater springs, explored and unexplored caves, and a famous butterfly sanctuary known as the Bandilaan Butterfly Range and Breeding Farm.
From Lazi, Mount Bandilaan can be reached by any vehicle in 30 to 40 minutes depending on road conditions. Upon reaching the entrance of the Natural Park, there is a 200 step hill that will take you to the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine and the Stations of the Cross. The entire park is surrounded by a healthy vegetable garden thus the air is distinctly crisp and clean. There is a viewing tower at an elevated portion of the park which gives you a good vantage point of all the surrounding barangays and towns – a wonderful view of Siquijor.
Magic of Mount Bandilaan
Also found at the foot of Mount Bandilaan Natural Park are an array of potions and oils, healing amulets, charms, necklaces and what not — claiming to protect you from the evil spirits while curing you from whatever kind of malady you are suffering? These products are the actual concoctions of Siquijor’s famous mananambals and faith healers which have been processed in their own secret rituals. Along the pathways and byways, you can also find a sari-sari store or two which offers a cold soft drink and some light biscuits for the thirsty and hungry hiker.
In the early 2000, Mount Bandilaan in has been declared as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas System and the Committee on Natural Resources.